Neighbors concerned with baby sea turtles being crushed by vehicles

Crushed Baby Sea Turtles

SIESTA KEY, Fla. (WWSB) - Mote Marine says at least two baby sea turtles have been crushed recently and many more last year.

People who live near Sunset Point Beach on Siesta Key say vehicles will even ride over the nests destroying them.

“The light pollution from the vehicles that pull up and stop, when they pull up and stop the baby sea turtles just turn do a 180 and run straight for the vehicles in turn getting squished in the road,” said Mike Holderness, a Siesta Key resident and business owner.

People who live or work around here are pushing for Sarasota County to build permanent fencing around the perimeter of the beach, similar to what neighbors just put up. They say this will block the baby sea turtles from seeing any artificial light getting them to head the right direction towards the gulf.

“It’s very heartwrenching, I’ve seen a turtle crushed literally on the concrete,” said Lisa Matthews, a worker on Siesta Key.

A lot of these problems with the nests and baby sea turtles is happening on the section of Beach Road that’s closed at Sunset Point Beach. Mike Cosentino leads the group pushing to Reopen Beach Road. He tells us this whole issue about the fencing is not about the sea turtles but about blocking the road, saying this fencing has to come down.

“It has nothing to do with protecting the turtles, this is about blocking public access," said Cosentino. "We are all for protecting the turtles.”

Sarasota County says they have not heard back from the staff regarding this fencing issue and they tell us they will send an update to us once they receive it. In the meantime neighbors are hoping the county can come in and help.

“I just can’t imagine us as a community not standing out here saying look we don’t care about a road, we care about the baby turtles right now" said Holderness. "Let’s protect them, put politics aside.”

Mote Marine is urging people to keep the artificial lighting away from the beach. Sea turtle nesting season runs through October 31st

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